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Monday, May 15, 2006

If the Bush Speech Tonight Sounded Familiar ....

... it should have. Take this passage for example:

"Our reforms should be guided by a few basic principles. First, America must control its borders. Following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, this duty of the federal government has become even more urgent. And we're fulfilling that duty.
"For the first time in our history, we have consolidated all border agencies under one roof to make sure they share information and the work is more effective. We're matching all visa applicants against an expanded screening list to identify terrorists and criminals and immigration violators.

"This month, we have begun using advanced technology to better record and track aliens who enter our country -- and to make sure they leave as scheduled. We have deployed new gamma and X-ray systems to scan cargo and containers and shipments at ports of entry to America.
" We have significantly expanded the Border Patrol -- with more than a thousand new agents on the borders, and 40 percent greater funding over the last two years. We're working closely with the Canadian and Mexican governments to increase border security.
"America is acting on a basic belief: our borders should be open to legal travel and honest trade; our borders should be shut and barred tight to criminals, to drug traders, to drug traffickers and to criminals, and to terrorists."

Bush spoke those words more than two years ago during a Jan. 7, 2004 speech on immigration policy. Go here for the complete text. You will be surprised by how much else in this address sounds so very much like what the President said tonight.

Compare the above graphs to these from tonight's nationally televised speech, the full text of which is available on the Fox web site:

"Despite this progress, we do not yet have full control of the border, and I am determined to change that. Tonight I am calling on Congress to provide funding for dramatic improvements in manpower and technology at the border.
"By the end of 2008, we will increase the number of Border Patrol officers by an additional 6,000. When these new agents are deployed, we will have more than doubled the size of the Border Patrol during my Presidency.
"At the same time, we are launching the most technologically advanced border security initiative in American history. We will construct high-tech fences in urban corridors, and build new patrol roads and barriers in rural areas. We will employ motion sensors … infrared cameras … and unmanned aerial vehicles to prevent illegal crossings. America has the best technology in the world - and we will ensure that the Border Patrol has the technology they need to do their job and secure our border."

So we must ask: If things have gotten so bad in the most recent two years despite the actions initiated in 2004 that Bush is now calling out the National Guard, is that a confession of failure of the measures detailed above, including especially those high-tech measures that were again presented tonight as the key to protecting our borders?